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Friday, October 27, 2000

Campaign 2000

opponent spar over
taxing email

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Congressman Neil Abercrombie is disputing his Republican opponent's claim that he favors taxing of email, noting that he voted for the Internet Tax Freedom Act two years ago.

"I can't imagine where he came up with something like that," Abercrombie, a Democrat, said in response to the charge by Republican challenger Phil Meyers.

Meyers told reporters at a press conference yesterday that Abercrombie was the dissenting vote in 1999 when the House approved 423-1 a nonbinding resolution urging President Clinton to seek a worldwide moratorium on tariffs involving electronic commerce.

Meyers described Abercrombie as "the only member of the United States Congress that wants to tax each and every email that you send to your friends, to your relatives, to your grandparents, to your children."

The issue provides a clear distinction between himself and Abercrombie, as well as the Republicans and the Democrats, he said.

"The Republican Party does not want to tax everything that people do," Meyers said, adding that "I can't see any reason why" Abercrombie would oppose the resolution.

Abercrombie said Meyers is off base.

The 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act, which he supported, called for a three-year moratorium on taxation on electronic commerce.

"Certainly email has never been taxed and nobody's even contemplating it," Abercrombie said. "I really think he should try to do his homework."

The 1999 resolution Meyers referred to deals with a United Nations report on human development, Abercrombie said, which suggested that the issue of taxing electronic transmissions to help technological development of the Third World.

"At least it deserved a discussion," Abercrombie said. The resolution has nothing to do with the World Trade Organization legislating a tax on American citizens.

Meyers said: "By voting no on this resolution, Mr. Abercrombie has said that he wants to give the World Trade Organization the authority to organize and the power to enforce an international tax on all email and every bit of information that goes out over the Internet."

Abercrombie said the resolution does not even make reference to taxing email.

Meyers acknowledged the resolution does not contain language stating there would be an international tax, "but by this vote, he is clearly saying he would support such an Internet tax." Election Results
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